Poor “neutered cat.”
After watching our Rally friends leave the marina, Frank and I prepared for our trip up the Miami River to M & M Boat Yard. Back in September, Frank had arranged transportation for LIB’s mast from Jabin’s Yacht Yard in Annapolis to M & M Boatyard in Miami. After three months of being a “power cat,” we were very ready to have our sailing vessel back.
Miami harbor with at least six cruise ships.
Motoring toward the Miami River, we were amazed by the number of cruise ships in the Miami Harbor. Each of those cruise ships is a small town…. think of the number of people who move in and out of Miami when you consider these ships and the international airport!
Fixed bridges are easy.
I have mentioned several times how smart it was to have our mast removed from LIB before our trip down the ICW because of the bridges, and that was driven home when we motored up the Miami River. M & M was only about 3 miles up the river, but we had to cross under 15 bridges! Some of the bridges were fixed but probably nine of them would need to be opened once the mast was back on our boat.
At least three bridges in this picture.
Below is a photo layout of the mast being returned to Let It Be. I did have to put down the camera and help, so it isn’t as complete as it could be..
Attaching and tensioning the shroud.
Attaching the boom.
Sail bag and lazy jacks up; now for the sail.
By the time the mast and boom were in place, we only had time to attach the sail bag and put on the main sail before dark descended.
***A special thank you to John Sheldon, who rigged our mast. He was very professional and timely. He did an excellent job of stepping the mast and we really appreciated his efforts and expertise.
The next morning we got up early to wash the decks which were filthy from so many shoes during the mast stepping and the general dirtiness of a boat yard. As soon as we finished, we pointed LIB out of the yard and toward the ocean.
Happily, our motor out of the Miami River went smoothly and the bridge tenders were very accommodating. We did have one instance when a barge, being pulled by tugboats from the bow and stern, needed to go through a bridge at the same time we did. Needless to say, we stood down and gave him the right of way!
Other than the huge barge, we didn’t have any issues clearing bridges but our perspective was certainly different as we watched the mast and antenna passing under the fixed bridges. Even though we knew we had a couple of feet of clearance, it looked closer from down on the deck.
Several of our Rally friends were hanging out in No Name Harbor in Biscayne Bay, and they reported that the anchorage was excellent so we headed there to finish our work returning LIB to a full fledged sailboat.
The view just outside the entrance to No Name Harbor
No Name is a pretty little anchorage with one restaurant and several paths to walk or bike. Both mornings we were there, dolphins swam around the anchorage very close to the boats.
Cappy thinks she is herding those dolphins.
Captain was going crazy barking and running around the boat following the dolphins, so finally we told her she could go swim…. and she did! For about an hour Captain swam around the anchorage trying to catch those illusive swimmers!
Frank offers support for herding activities.
As you can see, Frank put a paddle board in the water and paddled nearby so that when Cap was tired she could swim back to him and rest. Of course, once she spotted another dolphin, she jumped back in the water to give chase.
Captain is an English Shepherd and I swear, with this breed, if you don’t give them a job, they will create one. Apparently Cap has decided that dolphin herding is her new responsibility!
I would guess that several of the Rally boaters have more experience racing sailboats than making ocean passages on them. When it was time for a discussion about when to cross to the Bahamas, they gathered on LIB to discuss options and weather windows. Although we were not planning on leaving at the same time our friends were, we wanted to hear their thoughts and share the weather tools we use when planning our passages.
Conveyances tied to LIB as we discussed weather services and windows.
No Name was a pretty and very well protected anchorage. We would have enjoyed staying a bit longer, but we were heading toward Key Largo where our friends Mary and Glenn live. Our plan was to have the boat in Key Largo when our son, Clayton, arrived for a short Christmas weekend. That would allow us to sail a bit with Clayton but also be in a good location to wait for a weather window to travel to the Bahamas.
So fun seeing our spinnaker flying again!
We left No Name Harbor, put up our beautiful red spinnaker and SAILED to Key Largo. It was great to finally turn off the engines and zip along using the power of wind.
Even though we live on LIB, this was our first sail in FIVE months! Between the repair time required after our lighting event and shipping our mast so we could traverse the ICW, we had almost forgotten how to be sailors!
Thankfully, LIB has not forgotten how to sail. I think she was as delighted as we were to fly sails and glide quietly through the water.
A huge thank you to Mary and Glenn for finding us this awesome place to wait!!
This well protected canal is where we docked LIB for several days as we waited for a window to go to Bimini. We both enjoyed the Key Largo area and think this would be an awesome place to spend a hurricane season! Perhaps this will be our location for hurricane season 2017.